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Home > Business > Special

10 hot stocks to buy now

MoneyLife | May 11, 2007

The market is at a historic high. Money from abroad is flowing in torrents. India is a trillion dollar economy now. The rupee is strengthening relentlessly. It is true that at times like these, it is easy to get carried away about stocks.

Here we carry the dire views of Jeremy Grantham, a top name among US investors, managing $125 billion equity globally. He feels that globally asset prices are in bubble territory. They have risen in a synchronised manner and they will fall in the same manner as well.

Do we agree with this view? We are ambivalent. If there is one truth about the markets, it is that they are ever-changing. What if the market does not fall, defying the sceptics? Haven't the excellent economists and strategists of Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan been over-cautious during the past three years, even as the market rose and rose? If the market keeps rising on excellent earnings and fund flows, what would you buy? Here is an approach. Buy stocks with significant sales momentum behind them.

 5-Quater AverageValuation 
CompanySales GrowthOP GrowthOPMM-Cap to SalesM-Cap to OP
Welspun-Gujarat Stahi Rohren68%112%10%0.777.21
Kalindee Rail Nirman105%159%11%1.3812.33
Kalpataru Power97%128%15%2.5216.98
Sanghvi Movers52%70%70%3.334.75
Asian Electronics88%78%19%2.4512.94
Reliance Capital96%80%88%18.1620.20
Jindal Saw56%45%11%0.595.41
Jyoti Structures51%78%11%1.6514.46
Havell's India70%51%9%1.8019.35

It is usually hard for companies to cook up revenues. And, at a time when experts are talking about a slowdown, both in India and globally, it pays to stay with companies that are not affected in their ability to grow their revenues. But not all companies with powerful sales growth are worth buying.

We sift for the ones that are, through another of our unique stock screens. One caveat. Hot stocks, by nature, are expensive and, therefore, risky. They are meant only for the truly courageous. They may synge you. Apply a stop loss of 25 per cent on the purchase prices.

Regular readers of MoneyLIFE would be familiar with this company, which falls under the steel products sector and featured in our stock screen section some time ago. Welspun Gujarat Stahl Rohren continues to be our pick.

WGSRL caters to the global requirement of welded tubes and pipes, manufacturing a wide range of products starting from half-inch to 100-inch of outer diameter. The company manufactures high-grade line pipes in the submerged arc-welded category (both spiral and longitudinal), branch pipes (electric resistant welded pipes) and coating.

Having harnessed technology to the best, it is approved by almost 40 oil & gas giants across the globe. It has as its technology partners, global companies like Capello Tubi of Italy, SMS Meer and EUPEC of Germany.

WGSRL has the distinction of having supplied pipes for the world's deepest gas pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico and the US and has many firsts in India to its credit. Among the few producers in this category in the global market, it supplies to almost all large oil and gas companies worldwide including BG, Exxon Mobil, Shell, Saudi Aramco, Gazprom and Total.

On the domestic front, its clientele includes companies like GAIL, Indian Oil Corp, Oil and Natural Gas Corp and Bharat Petroleum.

WGSRL has been doing extremely well, thanks to a strong order book position, especially on the exports front. Its export orders are primarily driven by the Middle East, the US, Indonesia and other countries.

Its revenues have been growing at an average of 68 per cent over the past five quarters, but the striking feature of this company is its strong growth in operating profit. Excluding the March 2005 quarter, which was an aberration, its operating profit grew by a healthy 112 per cent over the past five quarters.

The company has an operating margin of 10 per cent, which is the only weak point. In terms of valuation, the stock is not yet expensive. Its market-cap discounted its average sales of the past five quarters (annualised) by just about 0.77 times and its operating profit by 7 times.

There is another pipe company that is piping hot. Jindal Saw is India's first company to manufacture Submerged Arc Welded (SAW) pipes.  It is among the largest producers of SAW pipes, which find application in the energy sector for transportation of oil and gas.

It makes large diameter submerged arc pipes and spiral pipes and bends used in the energy transportation sector. It also manufactures stainless steel seamless pipes and tubes used for industrial applications and ductile iron pipes for water and sewage transportation.

Like Welspun, it has a prestigious client list such as IOC, GAIL, Engineers India, BPCL and HPCL, Egyptian Natural Gas Company, Bechtel, Shell, Saudi Arabian Oil Company and others.

Its revenues have been growing at an impressive average of 56 per cent over the past five quarters while operating profit was up 45 per cent. JSL has an average operating margin of 11 per cent and the stock doesn't look very pricey for the moment.  Its market-cap discounts its five-quarter average sales (annualised) by just about 0.59 times and its operating profit by 5.41 times.

The next company that figured high on our list, again, is a stock about which we have been bullish in the past. Kalpataru Power Transmission came high in our overall ranking table with strong fundamentals but lags a bit in terms of valuations.

KPTL is a leading executor of turnkey projects in the country for EVH transmission lines up to and including 800 KV. Its scope of work includes design, testing, fabrication, galvanising of towers and construction from survey, civil works/foundation, erection to stringing and commissioning of EHV lines, besides procurement of materials.

KPTL also provides EPC services for distribution projects of 11/33 KV and also constructs cross-country pipelines, besides telecom towers. Kalpataru's performance on the bourses is, in a way, linked to the real estate story that goes with the group; nonetheless, its fundamental strength is formidable.

The company's operational revenues have been growing at an average of 97 per cent over the past five quarters while its operating profit grew by an even more impressive 128 per cent over the same period. KPTL has an average operating margin of 15 per cent.

However, on the valuation front, it looks expensive with its market-cap discounting its five-quarter average sales (annualised) by 2.52 times and its operating profit by 17 times. The company has a very strong order book of over Rs 2,100 crore (Rs 21 billion). This is likely to translate into total revenues of Rs1,500 crore (Rs 15 billion) for FY07.

Kalpataru also has a controlling stake in JMC Projects, which is largely into infrastructure development. JMC's stake has bolstered Kalpataru's presence in the infrastructure development sector substantially in the last couple of years.

Companies in the engineering, electronics and electrical sector have been doing extremely well, especially since global companies have been scouting for low-cost Indian manufacturers.

One company which we have earlier covered as a budding small stock has now matured into a promising mid-cap, thanks to its strong fundamental growth over the past two years.

Asian Electronics is into design and manufacturing of energy-efficient products and specialises in lighting solutions. With its nationwide presence and strategic partnerships, Asian Electronics has seen its revenues grow at an impressive average of 88 per cent over the past five quarters while its operating profit grew by 78 per cent.

The company has a comfortable operating margin of 19 per cent but it looks costly with its market-cap discounting its five-quarter average sales (annualised) by 2.45 times and its operating profit by 12.94 times.

Infrastructure and construction have been among the hottest themes in the Indian market. Companies in these sectors have done extremely well, riding on the back of increased activities following the government's keen thrust on infrastructure development coupled with enhanced demand from residential, commercial and industrial construction.

One company from this sector that has emerged high on our list is Kalindee Rail Nirman (Engineers). Kalindee executes major projects for the railways such as gauge conversion, new railway line construction, modernisation of railway yards, up-gradation of railway sidings at ports, petroleum sidings, access control systems for metro rail, fibre-optic networks along railway tracks, signalling systems, etc.

After the formation of the Railway Vikas Nigam Limited in 2002, railway projects that were mired in bureaucratic tangles have undergone a sea change. Kalindee has been among the front-runners to have benefited from this changed scenario.

A proven track record and an experienced management in executing large-sized infrastructure projects, particularly in railways, have enabled the company to bid and win many large projects put up by RVNL.

The company has been doing extremely well with revenues growing at an average of 105 per cent over the past five quarters while its operating profit was up 150 per cent over the same period.

Kalindee has operated at an average margin of 11 per cent over the past five quarters and, in terms of valuation, looks moderately priced with its operating profit discounting its five-quarter average annualised sales by 1.38 times and its operating profit by 12 times.

The non-banking financial services arm of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, Reliance Capital is one hot stock in today's market.

The main drivers of growth for this company are its various subsidiaries dealing in a host of financial services. RCL's stream of annuity-like earnings comes from owning Reliance Asset Management, which has sponsored Reliance Mutual Fund, India's largest mutual fund. The value of this guaranteed cash flow is enormous.

RCL is also focused on funding projects in the infrastructure sector while it is still in an investment mode for building Reliance General Insurance and Reliance Life Insurance. The internal mandate to the management is to make these two businesses among the largest.

On a stand-alone basis, the company's revenue has been rising at an average of 97 per cent over the past five years while its operating profit was up 80 per cent over the same period.

The stock looks overvalued when viewed on a stand-alone basis. Its market-cap discounts its average five-quarter operational annualised revenue by 18 times and its operating profit by 20 times.

RCL, however, needs to be seen on a consolidated basis to get a true picture of its performance. Its real strength lies in its subsidiaries. On a consolidated basis, the company reported a net profit of Rs 397 crore (Rs 3.97 billion) for FY07 against Rs 306 crore (Rs 3.06 billion) last year.

Another turnkey solutions provider in the field of high voltage power transmission lines and sub-stations, with long standing experience in the industry, is Jyoti Structures. Its fundamentals look sound and it is poised for good growth, given the poor power infrastructure India currently has.

Jyoti is among the few companies capable of executing total turnkey jobs involving setting up of transmission lines as well as sub-stations. With operations in 33 countries, the company is into design, engineering consulting, tower testing, manufacturing, project management and construction of transmission lines.

On the financial front, its revenues have been rising at an average of 51 per cent over the past five quarters while its operating profit was up 78 per cent during the same period; it has an average operating margin of 11 per cent.

It is a hot stock and looks expensive in terms of its market-cap to operating profit (14 times) but moderately priced compared to its revenues with a market-cap to sales of 1.65 times.

Jyoti stands to benefit from the increased stress on private participation in transmission projects and rural infrastructure spending. It has a strong order book, which can be bifurcated as 60 per cent for transmission and 20 per cent each for sub-stations and rural electrification, respectively.

Another infrastructure services company is Sanghvi Movers, one of the largest crane-hiring companies in Asia, ranked 19th in the world by Cranes International. Its fleet consists of 250 medium- to large-sized heavy duty hydraulic and crawler cranes with capacities ranging from 20 tonnes to 800 tonnes.

The company operates as an integrated provider of services in the goods carriage segment implementing turnkey projects, which include providing well-maintained equipment, expert technical services and skilled manpower.

It has the distinction of deploying cranes at optimal rates, adhering to time schedules and spending less time on mobilisation. Its list of clients includes top names like ONGC, Reliance, L&T ECC, Hyundai, Rolls Royce, Gujarat Ambuja, Tata Steel and Samsung, among many others.

The company has been rapidly expanding its fleet of cranes in order to meet growing demand. SML plans to add 11 new cranes in FY08 and another five the following year, which are likely to improve its realisations further.

Currently, it has a utilisation rate of almost 85 per cent-90 per cent and has increased its rentals by almost 10 per cent-15 per cent in the past 15 months since it expects demand to remain stable over the near future.

How is all this translating in terms of numbers? Its revenues have been growing at an average of 52 per cent over the past five quarters while operating profit was up 70 per cent during the same period.

The most interesting part of SML's financial performance is the high margin at which it operates (70 per cent at the operational level). In terms of valuation, its market-cap discounts its five-quarter average sales (annualised) by 3.33 times and its operating profit by 4.75 times. That is not expensive at all for the growth opportunities ahead.

Thermax is another hot engineering stock. A global solution provider in energy and environment engineering, the company offers products and services in heating, cooling, waste-heat recovery, captive power, water treatment and recycling, waste management and performance chemicals.

It has a vast and dedicated sales and service network spread over South East Asia, Middle East, Africa, Russia, India, the UK and the US. Its revenues have been rising at an average of 48 per cent over the past five quarters.

Operating at an average margin of 13 per cent, its operating profit has shown a remarkable growth having gone up an average 81 per cent over the same period. The hot growth, however, seems to be priced into the stock price as is reflected in its valuations.

At a market-cap to sales ratio of 2.84 times and a market-cap to operating profit ratio of 22.52 times, it isn't looking cheap, but its order book looks healthy and this is reason enough for investors to jump into it at market declines.

The order book of Thermax for the nine months ending December 2006 increased more than 94 per cent to Rs 3,024 crore (Rs 30.24 billion) compared to Rs 1,559 crore (Rs 15.59 billion) in the nine months of last year.

Another interesting stock in the engineering, electronics and electrical space is Havell's India, which has emerged as a major manufacturer of a wide range of low-voltage electrical equipment.

It manufactures products in building circuit protection, industrial circuit protection, cables, energy meters, lighting solutions, CFLs, fans, modular plate switches, bath fittings and accessories.

Although it is hard for Havell's to create product differentiation, its revenues have been growing at an average of 70 per cent over the past five quarters and its operating profit went up by 51 per cent over the same period.

Lack of product differentiation and intense competition shows up in its operating margin of just 9 per cent. Its market-cap discounts its five-quarter average sales (annualised) by 1.80 times and its operating profit by a higher 19.35 times.

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